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Coalition for Responsible Sharing: Statement

Two members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, ACS and Elsevier, have decided to appeal the ruling of the Regional Court in Munich in their case against ResearchGate (31 January, 2022).

Dr. James Milne, Chair of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing and President, ACS Publications, said: “We welcome the Regional Court in Munich’s verdict. It ruled in our favor on the main part of the claim: ResearchGate is responsible for content that is made available illegally on its site in contravention of agreements between publishers and authors, which it does for its own commercial gain. ResearchGate has been ordered by the court to refrain from doing this in the future.

On the secondary element of the claim, the court denied granting damages on separate grounds. The court confirmed that the agreements between publishers and authors, including electronic agreements, are legally valid. However, we disagree with the court’s opinion that we did not sufficiently prove the consent of all authors. The specifics of academic publishing should be taken into account: research is inherently both global and collaborative, often involving a range of authors from myriad backgrounds, locations and stages of their career. Against this background, ACS and Elsevier have decided to appeal.”

Collaborating and exchanging research articles is a critical element of how researchers make progress that benefits society. Members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing actively enable copyright compliant sharing in many ways. We are pleased the courts have now made it clear that ResearchGate needs to do this in a legally compliant, sustainable way.